God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26)

I understand that there is no word in either ancient Hebrew or Greek that corresponds to "homosexual" in the sense that we use it today. We use the term as inclusive of those who have a “natural” sexual attraction to others of the same gender. Most would accept as fact that in both the general animal kingdom and within humanity some individuals are born with a natural sexual attraction to other individuals of the same gender. It is my understanding that to the degree that the ancients were concerned with the subject of sexual orientation at all, they were concerned with specific sex acts rather than natural sexual orientation. Some ancient texts indicate that the ancients discriminated between eunuchs by birth and those who became eunuchs later through surgical castration. The first use of the word "homosexual" in the Bible did not occur until 1946 with the publication of the Revised Standard Version translation of the Bible.

With this background information, is it logical to interpret Romans 1:26 as being a condemnation of lust rather than homosexual orientation? Lust meaning sexual acts that are not part of a loving relationship, be those acts homosexual or heterosexual. What is the Catholic interpretation of Romans 1:26? Do any Christian denominations interpret this passage as not being a condemnation of sexual acts within a loving same sex relationship?

  • 3
    Although you ask for the Catholic interpretation, you also ask if anyone interprets it differently. So basically you are asking for all denominational views, which is too broad... I also very much doubt that "Most would accept" that homosexuality is a genetic trait. That is the "PC" thing to say in the USA, but that is not the general belief everywhere. And the actual science suggests it is a combination of genetics, environmental, and other factors (correlation between identical twins, for example, is > 0, but < 1).
    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 16:08
  • Wikipedia, which I offer as a source for you to accept or reject as representative of current mainstream thought as it is an open source available for all to edit, includes the following entry on the subject: "homosexual behavior in animals is sexual behavior among non-human species that is interpreted as homosexual or bisexual. This may include sexual activity, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting among same-sex animal pairs. Research indicates that various forms of this are found throughout the animal kingdom. Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 16:29
  • Um, that only says homosexuality occurs in animals, which I didn't challenge in any way. None of that says it is a trait acquired at birth (in animals or humans), nor does it say what common belief is (i.e. what "most" people accept). Wikipedia reflects a consensus of scientific research, not what the average person believes.
    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 16:32
  • With respect to common belief, at least among Americans, I offer the most recent May, 2015 Gallup Poll on the subject "According to the latest Gallup poll, 51 percent of Americans say that people are born gay or lesbian, while only 30 percent say outside factors such as upbringing and environment determine sexual orientation." Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 16:38
  • 2
    Like I said, it is the politically correct American belief, but America is not everyone. (I would hardly count 51% as "most", though.) ... Your inaccurate statement about what "most" people believe is not the problem with the question, though. The problem is that you are asking for the Catholic view and effectively all other views. That is too broad.
    – ThaddeusB
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 16:42


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